Monday, October 20, 2008

Awkward Moments in Lesbian Lore

"Can't seem to get a hold of your love.../I'm sick of being submissive when I really want to scream..."

Dusty Springfield appearing at ex-lover Carole Pope's farewell show in Montreal, 1986. (Pope's band was "Rough Trade"---apparently, according to her biography, very big in Canada. Pope and Springfield lived together for about 6 months in 1981. This Montreal show was the last time they ever saw each other. Springfield died of cancer in 1999.)

In Pope's 2000 bio, she remembers a fire backstage just prior to Dusty's going on, then Dusty's appearance as "relaxed...We started joking and it was all sexual innuendo. I said, 'Who's gonna be on top?' Dusty said, 'I'll be on top, no you be on top.'"

The song that Dusty sings, "Softcore," is beautiful.

But afterwards, rather than "relaxed," I find the "banter" between Pope and Springfield not sexy or playful at all, but, rather, uncomfortably tense, with Pope glaring at her. The "who's on top" comments come after some awkward stage maneuvering and awkward jokes about whose hair is bigger ("your hair's bigger than mine, time to leave the stage") and who wrote the song that Dusty just sang...

All of this, combined with the fact that 1986 shoulder-pads and big hair just are not attractive, makes me cringe! (Though, in Dusty's defense for looking bad at age 47, and acting weird, she hadn't yet sobered up.) I'm also not a big fan of Pope after reading her biography---though she's a Leo, like me, and I've yet to meet a Leo I didn't like, she comes across as rather shallow. Plus, in general, I hate that extremely annoying "butch act." My vote: Team Dusty.)


Anonymous said...

Oh the eighties were such a horrible, horrible fashion decade.

Yeah, definitely more tension and unease than anything else between them. Especially with Carole shooting daggers at Dusty... yikes.

Beth Austin said...

Yes, she was really shooting daggers at Dusty, right? I don't know if you've read the Carole Pope bio, but she seemed a bit hostile whenever Dusty was in the studio. (At one point, she says in the book that she's thinking, "Just sing the song, bitch" when Dusty is agonizing over notes... To me, that's the exact difference between a punk singer from Canada with a few minor hits and... Dusty Springfield. Dusty worked at her craft. She didn't just, oh, "belt out a few tunes." She worked very hard at her craft. Pope seemed to be jealous of that.)